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Jun 28, 2012 04:42 AM

Philly's Best Hot Dogs

I don't think there are any other places besides what is on this list, but here it is...

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  1. Great list. If you are going to put Shake Shack on there, you might as well put Five Guys on there which does offer a variety of toppings with a split grilled Hebrew National Frank.

    If you include the suburbs there are others that could be added.

    5 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      For some reason they did include Jimmy John's so the suburban door should have been wide open for others to be included. Holly Eats has a very good list that includes the burbs.

      1. re: RC51Mike

        The other interesting thing to be noted is they for the most part do not talk about what brand of hot dogs are served.......... pet peeve in the Hot Dog Lover's community.

        1. re: cwdonald

          Agreed. There should be a law that no hot dog article can be published until vetted by John Fox.

          1. re: cwdonald

            Agreed. At the minimum the type of dog (all beef, beef/pork) should be included as well as the brand, the way the dog is prepared, and the size. Toppings and cute nicknames are always included, but the actual dog, whether it has a casing, it's type and how it's prepared is more important. Too many articles do not include this.

            The dogs at the Memphis Taproom are 5/1 natural casing Best Provision beef franks. The same dog served at the popular (now gone) Syd's in New Jersey.

          2. re: RC51Mike

            If we include the burbs(NJ), I would throw in the Pop Shop in Collingswood. They do foot longs on brioche, but they do one with fried onions and cheese whiz that is definitely worth any gastro-intestinal problems that may ensue.

            I also haven't had one in a while, but when I was younger my father used to take me to Nifty Fifty's for the Texas Tommys, and I remember them being very good.

        2. Are the dogs at Underdogs natural casing? How about Texas Wieners?

          9 Replies
          1. re: barryg

            Great question ...... might be worth posting that on the Facebook Hot Dog Lovers forum John Fox and others frequent there and they are hot dog authorities. Or perhaps Hawk Krawl will stop by here. Maybe Holly Moore knows as well. worth checking out his hot dog page.

            1. re: cwdonald

              The article missed what I consider the best hot dog in Philadelphia - the one from the Hot Dog Guy at 24th and Passyunk.

              1. re: Holly Moore

                Is he still there? I've wanted to go since reading your review, but that review seems to be one of the older ones, and I wondered if the guy is still around.

                1. re: GDSwamp

                  Just to be sure, headed back to day. Mike is still putting out a five grease stain hot dog. In the summer he takes Saturdays off. Be sure to have him layer on some of his pepper hash.

            2. re: barryg

              Underdogs switched from a skinless Dietz and Watson beef frank to a Berk's skinless frank. Not sure if the new dog is all beef or beef/pork.

              1. re: hotdoglover

                John, they told me all beef when I was in there last Saturday.

                1. re: cheesewit

                  If they are an all beef 5 by 1 Berks, those are fabulous dogs. Capone's in East Norriton uses them for their hot dog specials (tommys or chili dogs) and they are fantastic.

                  1. re: cwdonald

                    They are. And I live near Capone's and have had the chili dog.

            3. Does anyone remember Lenny's Hot Dogs? We're going back 45 to 50 years here.
              Lenny's had one hot dog place at Wadsworth and Pickering in Mt. Airy (across from the Acme) and I think there were one or two others. I don't know what brand he served but they were huge and delicious.
              With mustard, relish, sauerkraut, a side of fries and an orange soda, this Hound was in heaven.

              12 Replies
              1. re: Chefpaulo

                Lenny's is in Feasterville/Trevose on Street Road now. He was the protector of the production of pepper hash. Offers both grilled and boiled hot dogs (not sure of his standard one.) Quality is ok not great.

                He sources some of his things from Illigs. Also has Champ Cherry Soda. Holly has a great review of him on his Hot Dog page.

                The other place that deserves mention is Levis. It has been revived in Jenkintown. Quality is variable, but they also have the philly surf and turf and the old sodas.

                1. re: cwdonald

                  CW, YES, you're so right. It wasn't sauerkraut on the hot dog. It was pepper hash. Thanks for the long-term memory refreshment.
                  So, maybe they weren't the best hot dogs in the world. Memories (as we know) can become distorted. More likely, it was my little bro' and I going out doing Saturday errands with dad and having him all to ourselves that made them taste better.

                  1. re: Chefpaulo

                    CP, careful with mistaking pepper hash for sauerkraut, could get your zapped! Opps here I go!

                    1. re: Bacchus101

                      No confusion at all. It had the red flecks of bell pepper. I loved it .

                      As for the "flashbulb memories" of life, Dad took us to Lenny's during the peak days of the Cuban missile crisis. That will be 50 years ago in October. After Lenny's hot dogs, we bought canned water, a bunch of canned food and a dosimeter (radiation detector) awaiting the imminent nuclear attack. We drove home and he didn't say anything the entire trip.
                      A Lenny's hot dog with pepper hash could have been my last meal. We just didn't know.

                2. re: Chefpaulo

                  I have fond memories of Lenny's Hot Dogs but the one on Castor Ave. I believe the brand they carried were Yankee Maids which I don't think exist any more. I used to get mine with Mustard, Relish, Pepper Hash and Sauerkraut. I don't remember this one having fries or even the orange soda. Not sure what brand of soda I drank. My girlfriends and I would stop there to grab a bite to eat while we were strolling along Castor Ave. That was probably more than 45 years ago. Thanks for the memories.

                  I know this has nothing to do with hot dogs and probably should be somewhere else but while we are remembering things - does anyone still miss H&H?

                  1. re: FayeD

                    The automat morphed into the snack machine in every lunch room..........

                    1. re: FayeD

                      Will start a new thread on this one.

                      1. re: Chefpaulo

                        I had my new thread on H&H bleeped as "nostalgia is not topical" on this site.
                        I guess we cannot mention any closed establishment for that matter. Behave yourselves!

                        1. re: Chefpaulo

                          Well H&H is open in Philadelphia.

                          1. re: cwdonald

                            Horn and Hardart open? You mean a sit down restaurant?
                            Edify me.

                    2. re: Chefpaulo

                      I grew up a block and a half from the Lenny's that was on Castor Ave in NE Philly. I saw the Lenny's on Street Road, tried it, and wanted to cry! I got my old favorite...the combo with pepper hash. It was lousy. The hot dog itself seemed okay, but the pepper hash had little flavor, and the fishcake had less flavor than that! What a heartbreak...

                    3. Enjoyed my first visit to Hot Diggity on South Street before the Auto Show yesterday. We had several different dogs, and my favorite was "The Windy City", an ode to a Chicago-style (but missing the classic poppy seed bun, celery salt, and sport peppers--I'm an ex-Chicagoan!).

                      Tasty and well-made, with a nice firm (maybe too firm) toasted bun, although really I'd prefer a heftier dog (it tended to get drowned under all the toppings).

                      The hand-cut fries and 12 different dipping sauces were even better (Wasabi Mayo over Rosemary-Garlic). Hawk Krall's art on the walls was also pretty cool.

                      Although I also lived in Seattle for 10 years during the grunge era, and I never saw anything remotely like "The Seattle Grunge" dog!

                      Pic of "The Windy City":

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                        And they need to work on their HKM (harmonized ketchup messaging)!

                        1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                          Shake Shack does a good Chicago dog with the right bun and the celery salt.

                          iMO the bun at hot diggity is too big and the dog too skinny, it just doesn't work for me. A shame because they clearly put a lot of care into the food quality, flavors and preparation.

                        2. The original comment has been removed
                          1. is a great discussion of the history of seattle hot dogs with cream cheese. It is legit.

                            The folks at hot diggity are really into their hot dogs. Last year they did a recreation of a series of different hot dogs at "Cook" the space owned by Audrey Claire. I believe Holly Eats has a write up of it. I know one of the types they did was a Chicago style dog complete with the poppy seed buns, sport peppers and celery salt. is another recap of that event. They have said they will be doing some similar events at their South Street location this year.

                            1. re: cwdonald

                              Invented in 1988? In other words, like yesterday? ;-)

                              Don't you love how we American's have to categorize even the most obscure things into "styles" and then "rank" them (don't get me started on supposed pizza styles). How about we just call them hot dogs and leave it at that?

                              Of course then Hot Diggity wouldn't be on TV.

                              1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                Hey 1988 was a quarter of a century ago ... not like it was yesterday. And talk radio and foodtv has lead us to lists, but it is appropriate to acknowledge regional differences in food. and to celebrate them. You should go on the annual hot dog tour of New Jersey and see how many different styles you can find just in one state.

                                1. re: cwdonald

                                  CW, do you have a when and how on that Annual Hot Dog Tour of New Jersey? Sound like great fun!

                                  1. re: Bacchus101

                                    Yes its in September. You need to go to Facebook and join Hot Dog Nation. This will be the tenth year of the tour. The owners of the Facebook group are the organizers of the tour. What I like most about it are the variety of types of dogs.. dirty water, coneys, IHD. It always starts at Galloping Hill in Union and winds its way through parts of Jersey.